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‘Cowboy’ Cerrone: ‘I’d be one miserable son of a b*tch if all I had to do was wake up and train’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is the first to admit he takes a lot of chances with his fight career, thanks to his activities outside the cage.

Back in 2018, the former UFC title contender nearly perished while going cave diving. It was one of the scariest moments in his life. And while he gave up that activity — for the time being — he still does a lot of things one might consider dangerous.

Whether it’s riding horses, snowmobiles, or motorcycles, engaging in paintball matches, and just biking the mountains surrounding his New Mexico ranch, Cerrone never stays put long.

The UFC has tried to stop Cerrone from engaging in this kind of behavior. But even ahead of one of his biggest career opportunities, a meeting with Conor McGregor on Jan. 18 at UFC 246, he hasn’t stopped. Enjoying outdoor activities is the only way he knows how to prepare for a fight.

“There are clauses [in my contract] like I can’t ride horses, but I ride horses all the time,” Cerrone explained in his “More Than a Cowboy” documentary series on Amazon. “There’s a bunch of things in the clause – you can’t ride motorcycles, can’t jump mountain bikes – but I have never not shown up to a fight in my life. I’ve never missed weight. I’ve never been injured and not made it. I’ve been injured and still fought, of course. But I’ve never called and said, ‘Oh I can’t make it,’ or you call me with an opponent and (I) say, ‘Man, I just don’t know if that guy’s really going to work for me right now.’

“The answer’s always yes, and we show up and we fight, so I think they just let ‘Cowboy’ be ‘Cowboy,’ because I’m f*cking coming no matter what.”

Outdoor activities that some might consider crazy or irresponsible are the same ones that keep Cerrone sane. He promises the work will get done as he prepares to face McGregor, but he can’t focus on the fight 24 hours a day.

“I’d be one miserable son of a b*tch if all I had to do was wake up and train,” Cerrone said. “Go to bed, think about training, that would drive me through the roof. When you’re out on those mountain bikes, or you’re out playing paintball and we’re shooting the guys and we’re riding the horses, riding the snowmobiles, it’s just a release.

“You just let everything else go and you just focus on that one moment or that thing that you’re doing, then we come back and we train and we keep playing harder.”

And as much as he adores fighting, Cerrone just loves to have a good time, which is why he’s learned to cater to his own enjoyment above everything else.

“I don’t know what ‘Thursday at 10 o’clock’ means,” Cerrone said. “Making a schedule with me later today is hard enough. Like today, we had a schedule for training, and then that got trumped real quick when the sun was shining outside. If fun is involved, it trumps anything in my life.”